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Jack Weber

March of Events

(28 April 1934)

From The Militant, Vol. VII No. 17, 28 April 1934, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Japan’s Monroe Doctrine for Asia

The ruthless policy of Japanese militarism requires no documentary proof. During more than a generation the Japanese ruling class has made abundantly clear its inflexible aim of fixing the colonial yoke on the necks of the Chinese masses – and to do this before the other imperialist robber powers gain too strong a foothold in China. The notorious Twenty-one Demands made on China during the War and the Tanaka Document merely set forth the obvious, the unrestrained, cold-blooded bandit ambitious of Japanese militarism.

Why then the startled reaction of the capitalist press when Amau, chief of the intelligence division of the foreign office, mouthpiece of Hirota, formulates Japan’s Monroe Doctrine for Asia, with its warning that Japan will resist by force any encroachments by others on its preserves in China? The answer lies in the fact that capitalist “peace” is merely a truce between wars for plunder that Amau’s brutally frank statement disturbs the present truce and sets up the tremors that betoken the nearness of the next war.

* * * *

Japanese Uncertainty

It has been clear for some time that the Japanese ruling class is divided in counsel. Recognition of the U.S.S.R. by the U.S. gave pause to the shrewder spirits among the militarists who realized the suicidal nature of a war against an alliance of two such formidable powers as the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. The perspective of immediate intervention in the Soviet Union slowly faded and a change in foreign policy resulted, the effort being made to woo America away from the Soviet alliance. Simultaneously Japan has been seeking assurance from British capitalism that England would “balance” the U.S. in case of war with the Soviet Union. Does the present turn signify that these assurances have been gained? Or is this merely the result of the pent-up emotions of those Japanese reactionaries who cannot await a more propitious moment for attack?

* * * *

The Danger of Waiting

Waiting too is a dangerous policy. It permits the Soviet Union to strengthen its defenses. It gives the U.S. a chance, not merely to build a powerful navy, but to seek what has become essential to U.S. imperialism, a military base in China. The Japanese properly interpret the aid given Chiang Kai-shek by America in the training of aviators, the selling of planes, the building of airports and communications, and the setting up of an airplane factory, as one step in the direction of establishing a military foothold on the Asiatic mainland.

Waiting means also the sharpening of the class struggle internally in Japan. The intense struggle to maintain her aims in foreign trade, so severely under attack by the jealous powers, involves the ever fiercer oppression of the Japanese masses of workers and peasants. The militarists are acutely aware of the volcano upon whose top they sit. The explosive internal forces, they delude themselves into believing, can be directed outwardly and dissipated. History will show how deluded they were.

* * * *

Roosevelt and Nationalization

Roosevelt continues to attack the living standards of the workers to assure dividend and interest payments to the capitalists. Again, after a policy of temporizing and delay so as to dull the edge of the railroad workers’ fighting spirit, Roosevelt insists on maintaining the wage cut. He insists that he does not want nationalization of the railroads but will be forced to take steps towards rigid control unless the railroad magnates reform the capital structure of these public utilities.

By such deception Roosevelt hopes to gain the sympathy of the middle and upper classes in his fight against the railway workers. For there is not another field of capitalist “enterprise” that offers a clearer picture of capitalist plundering and looting of public finances than the field of railroad transportation.

Roosevelt’s attitude towards nationalization is that of his class. He fears nothing so much as a real political struggle supported by the masses and the middle classes, for nationalization of the railroads. The capitalists fear that this would be an entering wedge which might precipitate a real struggle for state socialism.

It was in this sense that Railway Age recently answered Jordan of the National Industrial Conference Board when he predicted nationalization. The editors stated that the resistance to state socialism would prevent nationalization of the railways.

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